Earplugs Not Legal in Calif.?

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Sailorlite, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Sailorlite

    Sailorlite Long timer Supporter

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    At a minor traffic stop today a CHP sergeant told me my basic custom molded earplugs are not permitted. He said the law applies to all earplugs whether wired or just foam. It's in Calif. Vehicle Code he said.

    I've worn earplugs forever because I prefer a quieter ride and maybe saving my hearing, and I don't think I have any problem hearing nearby traffic.

    So, my question: Is it true that earplugs are illegal?
    #1
  2. crashall23

    crashall23 n00b

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    True! You also can’t wear glasses or sunglasses that extend past the corners of your eyes. Not many cops enforce this but it wouldn’t surprise me that CHP does.

    “27400.
    A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:
    (a) A person operating authorized emergency vehicles, as defined in Section 165.
    (b) A person engaged in the operation of either special construction equipment or equipment for use in the maintenance of any highway.
    (c) A person engaged in the operation of refuse collection equipment who is wearing a safety headset or safety earplugs.
    (d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer’s ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.
    (e) A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.”
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  3. 211john

    211john Been here awhile

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  4. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    You could argue it in court Under Sub section (d). There's at least half a dozen peer reviewed articles attesting to hearing loss in motorcyclists & the effectiveness of ear plugs. Search For A.W. McCombe for some of them.
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  5. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    Flip flips are illegal too.

    That means when I was riding to the beach as a teenager on my FZR600, in flip flops with cord showing on both tires - that was illegal for a bunch of reasons.

    At least I didnt have insurance.

    :dunno
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  6. Sailorlite

    Sailorlite Long timer Supporter

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    That subsection (d) exemption seems to include virtually every earplug a motorcyclist would wear. Yes, they're designed to attenuate injurious noise, and yes, I still hear sirens and horns.

    I understand that some earplugs are specifically designed for music, phone or intercom, and I'd guess that the code was written with those usages in mind.
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  7. DrKayak

    DrKayak Retro Rider

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    I would not give that law a second thought. I commute daily with earbuds and music. No jacket in the summer and cops see the wires to the earbuds all the time. Just rode beside a bike cop tonight. I was also hit buy a car last year and none of the fist responders said a word about the earbuds. I don't think I have any problem hearing nearby traffic either.
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  8. spiderman302

    spiderman302 Recalculating

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    Your hearing range is 120 db. Soft foam ear plugs, which are are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels, only attenuates 33 db. Which is 1/4 of your hearing range. You have 87 db to still hear sirens, horns and traffic around you. So exception (d) applies to motorcycle riders. Tell the Sargent to do the math.....
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  9. mrsdnf

    mrsdnf Been here awhile

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    So you can do the correct thing by law and ride a motorbike without ear plugs and eventually end up deaf because of this but still legally ride a motorbike deaf?
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  10. crashall23

    crashall23 n00b

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    I really think you’ll be ok riding with ear plugs. The only time I’ve seen that section enforced is for people in cars wearing both earbuds during “distracted driving” saturation patrols.
    #10
  11. SenorCollin

    SenorCollin Adventurer

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    Were you cited for the plugs or did he just give you a verbal warning?
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  12. Suzuki Phil

    Suzuki Phil Been here awhile

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    I wear soft foams earplugs when I ride because I suffer from tinnitus, they block all the wind noise.
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  13. Sailorlite

    Sailorlite Long timer Supporter

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    Due he said to my "clean" driving record I was not cited - only warned.
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  14. WJBertrand

    WJBertrand Ventura Highway

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    He knew he didn’t have a leg to stand on. I’ve been pulled over twice by the CHP over the last 20 years or so, and neither time were my earplugs mentioned as I pulled them out in front of the officer.
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  15. cwadej

    cwadej Keeper of the truth

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    earplugs look to be covered
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  16. cwadej

    cwadej Keeper of the truth

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    What do you mean "hearing range is 120dB" ? You can hear things much louder than 120dB. Unless your hearing is damaged it will probably hurt though.
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  17. Sfcootz

    Sfcootz feral Super Moderator Super Supporter

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  18. UKJeeper

    UKJeeper Been here awhile

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  19. Sfcootz

    Sfcootz feral Super Moderator Super Supporter

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  20. UKJeeper

    UKJeeper Been here awhile

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